Etiquette Pictures, from the same creative minds that launched Vinegar Syndrome two years ago, will unveil its unique line of film restorations beginning on July 14 with the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack debut of writer/director James B. Harris’ 1973 tale of the strange, Some Call it Loving.
Was it an acid trip that inspired this film? Perhaps. Some of the eclectic elements included in Harris’ lyrical tale (an adaptation of John Collier’s short story, “Sleeping Beauty” — 1938, Harper’s Bazaar) are a traveling freak show, complete with a sleeping beauty (kisses for a buck), an eccentric (and wealthy) jazz musician, a pair of dancing lesbian nuns, a secluded castle (think: William Randolph Heart’s abode at San Simeon) and Richard Pryor. Hell of a mix.
The laconic Robert Troy (Zalman King), a wealthy, but lonely jazz musician, happens upon a seedy traveling carnival, where one of the attractions is “Sleeping Beauty,” a young woman named Jennifer (Tisa Farrow) who has fallen into a deep sleep. For a dollar, you can kiss her.
There is something very creepy about all that. First, the cleaning, feeding and care of poor Jennifer — to keep her so pristine — leaves one wondering as to how much abuse is heaped upon her when the paying customers have gone home for the day. Veteran character actor Logan Ramsey (What's the Matter with Helen?, Busted, etc.) is her “doctor” and the same gent that runs the carnival!
And secondly, speaking of paying customers, how unhygienic is it for an endless parade of strangers to be planting long, leisurely, wet kisses on this poor girl? UGH!
Our hero, Robert, buys her. Is that even legal? Technically, she is an “attraction,” so maybe there is some little loophole there about buying and selling “attractions,” and the human being part is skipped over. It is a noble act, of course, on his part.
No matter, he takes her home to his ocean-view castle, where Scarlett (Carol White — Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting, Poor Cow, The Fixer, etc.), who appears to be the source of Robert’s wealth, resides with her faithful servant and lover, Angelica (Veronica Anderson).
Soon Jennifer awakes and Robert learns that beauty is, indeed, only skin deep. Which is the whole point of Collier’s short story.
As to Robert’s castle-mate, Scarlett, her fetishes appear to be without bounds as diversions include dressing up with Angelica and performing as tap-dancing nuns. With a wide-awake Jennifer at hand, how soon before she too joins in?
And then there’s Jeff (played by Richard Pryor), who is a Robert’s only real friend. His character speaks volumes about how drugs are bad … how ironic.
Bonus features for Some Call it Loving include commentary from director James B. Harris, outtakes with commentary and two newly prepared interview sessions featuring Harris and cinematographer Mario Tosi (Carrie, Sybil, MacArthur, etc.).